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Police evict activists from Taiwan parliament

Publication Date : 24-03-2014

 

Riot police began evicting protesters from the Executive Yuan building last night after it was occupied in protest of Premier Jiang Yi-huah and President Ma Ying-jeou's “off-the-point” responses to the student activists' demands.

At roughly 8pm yesterday, a large group of students ambushed the Executive Yuan, which is merely a short walk away from the Legislative Yuan — the headquarters of the ongoing “Sunflower Movement”. The protesters rammed through the barbed-wire barricades surrounding the Executive Yuan and clambered over the walls, making a dash for the main building as policemen put up a fight to keep them out.

As a fierce struggle ensued, the students were heard chanting in unison for fellow protesters to “sit down! sit down!” while others made their way into the building from a back entrance.

According to local media outlets, at least four or five students were scratched from climbing over the barricades, and eight rushed to nearby National Taiwan University Hospital, including one electrical injury case who had allegedly received a shock when breaking into the generator room.

Some of the protesters broke windows at the back of the building and climbed through them to the second floor with the help of a ladder. Protesters have successfully broken into the premier's office.

A voluntary act: student activists

After the student movement group “Black Island Nation Youth Front” forwarded a press release telling of the students' next actions, the group stated afterwards that it was simply charged with relaying the news and that the students had acted of their own volition.

The press release announced that the students had decided to act when the government's executive power, headed by Ma, had consented only to review the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement clause-by-clause but remained insistent that the pact was not to be withdrawn, contrary to the student's demands.

The students will also be calling for Ma and Jiang to take full responsibility for their actions; they demand that the president apologize and the premier resign.

“We respect our fellow-protesters' actions in claiming the Executive Yuan,” said student activist leader Chen Wei-ting, who seized the Legislature with student groups last Tuesday. “The students who organized the action have raised the same demands as ours: that the pact should be withdrawn and that an official means of cross-strait inspection over signed agreements be established, etc.,” said Chen.

Student leader Lin Fei-fan called for the protesters to remain “calm and non-violent.”

Students clash at Legislative Yuan

As the protesters that took possession of the Legislative Yuan last week were made up of four major student and citizen activist groups, rumors have been circulating that the groups' leaders and many members were starting to disagree with one another after the government failed to meet their demands.

Last afternoon, some 50 students attempted to break through the doors of the Legislative Yuan, allegedly to take the matter into their own hands by leading demonstrations with an “elevated degree of violence.” The students noted that they were disappointed by the effect of the peaceful protests.

Premier calls for police to remove protesters

The Executive Yuan issued a press release after the break-ins last night, with Cabinet spokesman Sun Li-chun saying that Jiang was “deeply hurt that the students would do something like this”. The premier also called for the National Police Agency (NPA) to dispatch extra police squads and “remove the protesters by and act according to law.”

According to Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li, the president told the premier that he fully supports the Cabinet's measures to deal with the incident.

 

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